The Nuclear deal is primarily aimed at securing energy demands for India, keeping in mind the growing economy which has lots more to offer. According to World Energy Outlook 2000, India’s commercial energy requirement is expected to increase by more than 2.5 times by 2020.
But the current political scenario in India does not confine itself to the necessity of nuclear energy but the implications of the deal over sovereignty of the country and its independent foreign policy. Is the deal capable of hindering the interest of the country to the extent that the government allies are pulling their support out?
According to the Agreement draft circulated among the Board of Governors of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), India has to place voluntarily its civilian nuclear facilities under Agency safeguards. The agency ensures the safeguards to the nuclear fuel supplied under the agreement, but it also has to provide assurance against withdrawal of safeguarded nuclear material from civilian use at any time.
The draft is silent over the fate and functioning of safeguarded reactor which were safeguarded earlier and later withdrawn followed by interruption in fuel supply. Can India reuse these reactors for any purpose it wants?
The draft says ” An essential basis of India’s concurrence to accept Agency safeguards under an India-specific safeguards agreement is the conclusion of international cooperation arrangements creating the necessary conditions for India to obtain access to the international fuel market, including reliable, uninterrupted and continuous access to fuel supplies from companies in several nations, as well as support for an Indian effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply over the lifetime of India’s reactors; and India may take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies…..”
IAEA, has maintained that it has no say in the supply assurance. The supply would entirely depend on the 45-member group, Nuclear Supplier Group, which is predominantly controlled by muscle power than the factual position of any country. Leave alone the situation, where India does a nuclear explosion, the supply can even be clutched depending upon the bilateral relation of India with the United States, which include foreign and economic policies.
The draft also fails to answer the questions over the conditions which would lead to interruptions of fuel supply, but assures corrective measures in case the supply is stopped.
US or any other country do not have a problem with India becoming a nuclear weapon state. All powerful have the nuclear arsenals and on the same time are also the insurer of world peace and disarmament.
Even after Pokharan-II India did not have to bear its burns and all economic cooperation remained intact. The main driver of the global cooperation is market and India provides it with great potential. The deal, may on one hand, extend the option of increasing share of nuclear energy, but at the same time also hand-cuff its national interests which was prevented by not signing the unjustified NPT and CTBT.